Two years ago, Frostburg State University football standout Niles Scott got a lot of attention from offensive lines, freeing up defensive end Zach Strand, who notched 10 sacks during a strong freshman season.
“Niles Scott got all the double-teams and the offensive line always slid the protection to Niles,” Bobcats head coach DeLane Fitzgerald said. “So Zach got to go his whole freshman year one-on-one, one-on-one, one-on-one. And he made good of it because he had 10 sacks as a freshman.”
That has changed.
Scott is now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, while the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Strand is well into his second season of drawing double teams.
“For the last two seasons, everything has been slid to Zach,” Fitzgerald said of the 2017 Easton High graduate. “So the offensive line slides everything to Zach. When the back comes out of the backfield, he double teams Zach. If a tight end’s in the game, he double teams Zach. So Zach’s taken on all the double-teams for the last two seasons. Never complained once about it. Kept coming, and had that break-out game (last) Thursday night.”
In that game eight days ago — a 41-34 double-overtime victory at Fairmont State in which the Bobcats rallied from a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit — Strand had six tackles, four for loss and two sacks that included dropping Fairmont State quarterback Takwan Crews-Naylor for a safety in the first quarter. That performance earned the junior defensive end the Mountain East Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
“Zach has played really, really well this year,” said Fitzgerald, whose team is making the transition from Division III to Division II this season. “He’s just always matched up against two guys. Putting up great numbers.”
Voted team captain this year, Strand (Easton) has 17 tackles (eight solo, nine assists), recorded seven for losses and three sacks.
“He’s the leader of our defense,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s our vocal leader, our leader by example. He’s as good or better off the field as on it, the way he handles himself as a person and as student.”
While Strand has been starting since his freshman year, junior classmate Drew Griffith (Easton High/Easton) didn’t get his first start until this season’s second game, when he got the nod at offensive guard. The 6-4, 290-pound Griffith helped Frostburg pile up 456 yards in offense during a 52-14 rout of Concord (W.Va.) and has remained a starter.
“Andrew’s a coach’s kid, so you kind of know what you’re getting when you get a coach’s kid,” Fitzgerald said of Griffith, whose father, Matt Griffith, is the former head coach and now assistant at Easton High. “They’re not going to give you any trouble. And if a coach’s son every gives you any trouble, all you’ve got to do is make one phone call and there’s never ever going to be any more trouble.
“When Drew got here, he was a ways away from being a player,” Fitzgerald continued. “And I don’t say that in a bad way. He had a lot of rough edges that he needed to file off before he was ever going to be a player. Andrew has worked himself into a college football player. And what’s funny is as a freshman, there were some people that didn’t think he’d ever be good enough to play Division III football. And then here he is two years later, he’s a Division II starter.
“Andrew’s personality and work ethic have made him a college football player,” Fitzgerald said. “You can look off to the side when we’re not running a play and Andrew will be working on whatever the last play was that he made a mistake on, always trying to perfect his craft. Him and Zach both, two of the hardest workers.”
Fitzgerald noted the work Griffith put in this summer has been beneficial. But it didn’t have anything to do with extra hours in the weight room or spending more time with the playbook.
“Andrew’s Dad, making Andrew huff those Coca-Cola boxes around all summer, does wonders for his conditioning,” Fitzgerald said. “Andrew actually went home last summer about 302, 304; came back at 290. The losing 12 pounds has really benefitted him.”
Frostburg has won three straight since a 20-17 season-opening loss to West Virginia State.
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Boston College sophomore running back David Bailey (North Caroline High/Ridgely) had another solid showing last Saturday in the Eagles’ 27-24 loss to Wake Forest. Bailey caught a touchdown pass that tied the game at halftime, then threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Chris Garrison that pulled Boston College within 27-24.
Bailey had four receptions for 33 yards, and carried nine times for 44 yards against the Demon Deacons. For the season, he has 53 carries for 291 yards and two touchdowns. He has also caught seven passes for 85 yards and a score. Boston College is 3-2.
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Red-shirt senior Brad Dennis (Jireh Prep, N.C./Cambridge) has booted 20 punts for a 41.65-yard average this season for Campbell (N.C.) University’s football team. The All-Big South first-team punter a year ago, Dennis has kicked three punts 50 yards or longer this season for the 3-1 Fighting Camels.
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Goalkeeper Emma Hill (Queen Anne’s County High/Centreville) notched her fourth shutout of the season Wednesday, as Salisbury University’s women’s soccer team earned a 1-0 victory over Mary Washington in Fredricksburg, Va.
Hill stopped all four shots directed her way as the Sea Gulls improved to 6-2-2 overall, 2-0 Capital Athletic Conference.
The junior foiled both shots she faced in a 1-0 shutout of Washington College on Sept. 18, and stopped three of the four shots fired her way in a 1-1 double-overtime draw with Bridgewater, Va. on Sept. 21. For the season, Hill has allowed just six goals and made 29 saves.
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Maddie Boehm (Saints Peter and Paul/Grasonville) collected her first point of the season for Indiana University’s field hockey team Sept. 20, when she assisted on a goal in the Hoosiers’ 4-2 victory over Michigan State. The sophomore midfielder has started all nine games for Indiana (4-5, 1-2 Big Ten) and put one shot on goal.
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St. Mary’s College’s field hockey team blanked Wilson College Phoenix in Chambersburg, Pa., last Sunday, pushing its record to 9-0, the best start in program history.
Freshman Celina Kaufman (Kent Island High/Queenstown) is second on the team in scoring with six goals, one assist, 13 points, and has taken a team-high 29 shots.
Sophomore midfielder Gabrielle Corder (Queen Anne’s County High/Centreville) has also started all nine games for the Seahawks, and has netted two goals and set up five for nine points. Corder has taken 20 shots on goal.
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Sophomore midfielder Abby Carpenter (Kent Island High/Stevensville) has started all nine games for Wake Forest’s field hockey team this year. Carpenter has taken just two shots, putting one on goal for the Demon Deacons (4-5, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).